Unit 731 Essay, Research Paper
A war is a form of violence and terror. However, some
countries go a deal more than that. For example, the
Iraq army carried out a sneak attack for which was
criticized by the Western countries. The army took out
nearly the whole army and also killed a number of
innocent civilians. The Nazis also had gassed and
murdered millions of innocent Jew people and was
Japans biological experiments during the second world
war is another example of a country going a good deal
beyond of just creating violence and terror. The event
showed that Japan created a program in which it
planned to develop biological weapons and how live
human beings were being used as guinea pigs. But
beyond that, what were the causes and practices of the
experiments of Unit 731?
The following pages analyze what the causes and
practices of the experiments by Unit 731. First they
explain the situation in which Japan was at that point
of the war. Then they present what led the Japanese
army into conducting biological experiments on live
humans and what they hoped to achieve in doing this.
Finally, they show the practices of the biological
At that time of the war, there was a international
convention in Geneva which is known as the Geneva
Convention. At this convention, it was governed that
during warfare’s, countries must ban biological
weapons from their list. Japan reacts to this by
refusing to approve this treaty.(Fujita) This
convention took place in 1925 which is 7 years before
the actual biological experiments of Unit 731 actually
took place. That shows that the Japanese Army had been
planning the project of experiments years before it
took place. The experiments took place from 1932 to
1945. In the year that it begun, 1932, The Japanese
Army had invaded Manchuria after the Mukden Incident
had taken place.(Kublin 162) When the army took
control of Manchuria, they sent a man called Shiro
Ishii, a physician and army officer who studied germ
warfare, to begin experiments. To fully understand why
Unit 731 was organized, this one man holds the whole
key to the answer.(Anonymous)
Born to a wealthy and rich land owner, Shiro had a
laid out of him. After entering the Medicine
Department in Kyoto University,
he started and steadily began to build up a tenacity
toward “winning”. After entering the Japanese army as
a doctor, his tenacity toward winning slowly turned
toward a weapon. A weapon that would be able to kill
thousands of people. A weapon that used his field.
That was the biological weapon.(Nihon Television)
Lacking the sources and riches that were needed to
lead Japan to victory, Shiro Ishii began to get ready
for the biological experiments. He also needed to have
knowledge of biological weapons which he couldn’t do
by himself. So, in 1936, Unit 731, a biological
warfare unit which was disguised as a water
purification unit, is formed.(Fujita) In order to
conduct these experiments, they needed “guinea pigs”.
The Japanese Army arrested Chinese, Korean, Russian,
and Mongolian people for minor crimes and then send
them to Unit 731 to be used as test subjects which was
known as “logs” by the researchers and technicians.
Under the slogan, The Road To Victory, elite
researchers eventually become overwhelmed by the
madness of these experiments and slowly turn into
devils. Seven years later, another elite researcher,
Yasuo Akimoto, who becomes famous after these events,
is sent down to Manchuria and is horrified by these
experiments but could not overcome the slogan and
eventually becomes a member of the unit,
The practices that took place were both big and huge
requiring a large amount of land. Ishii first formed a
huge compound which consisted of more than 150
buildings over 6 square kilometers near the city of
Harbin. This was the headquarters and eventually 9000
people die here. It comprised of over 3000 researchers
and technicians. It was a huge research just focused
on biological weaponry.(Anonymous 2) The experiments
were divided into a number of branches. First, there
was a branch in which was based upon vivisection. This
branch was used for practicing the numerous ways of
surgery. The vivisection had a number of stages.
First, they would do an appendectomy upon the patient
which was the excision of the vermiform appendix or
cutting off the appendix. The next stage was as
amputation of a arm or a leg. Finally, they would do a
excision or cut open the trachea. When they finished
practicing, they would kill the patient with a lethal
injection. This brach also contained other researches.
To study how fast ailments or diseases would spread,
they locked up diseased people with healthy people.
They also put people into pressure chambers to
determine how much
pressure the human body can withstand. Probably the
most infamous research done by this branch was
determining the treatment of frostbite. Prisoners were
taken outside into freezing temperatures and left
there with their legs and arms exposed. The
researchers would then periodically drench the exposed
areas with water until the exposed areas give out a
sound that resembles a board when it’s stuck. Not only
were these done to prisoners, but they were also done
Prisoners were also taken to a place called Anda
where they were tied up to stakes. Then they would be
bombarded with biological weapons to see how many died
and how effective it was. Planes would either spray
the area with the new plague or either drop bombs
which had infected fleas in them.(Fujita) The Japanese
Army conducted these tests periodically on many areas
of China such as Ningbo in Eastern China and Changde
in North China. It is also known that the food and
water also contained such diseases.(Harris 75)
Finally as the war came to a ending, Unit 731
released all the plague infected animals it had thus
creating a disaster in China. It caused outbreaks that
killed at least 30,000 people from 1946 to 1948.( But
even after the war, all the chemical weapons were
dumped into the Nen River and then were buried in a
remote county.(Fujita) It is estimated that 700,000 to
2,000,000 chemical bombs still lie in that area.
Experts say that it is Asia’s most dangerous dump
today and that a accidental explosion there would kill
everything within a 200 kilometer radius.(Kannsaki)
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Anonymous. “Unit 731.” Shitteru Tsumori. Mar. 5, 2000.
Unit 731 And The Events Surrounding It. Screenplay by
Shitteru Tsumori. Dir. Shitteru Tsumori. Perf.
Shitteru Tsumori. Nihon Television, 2000.
McCulloch, Scott D. “Biological Warfare and the
Implications of Biotechnology.” Biological
Kannsaki, Takashi. “731″ E-mail to Hiroshi Shirako.
Dec. 20, 2000.
Fujita, Hiroshi. Dec. 11, 2000. Online. AIM.
Anonymous 2. “Germ Warfare Timeline.” Germ Warfare.
Aug. 13, 1995. Online.
Kublin, Michael. JAPAN. Boston: Houghton Mifflin